3/9/2010 SF: "Islandwalk or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Forgive the Counterspell"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Serious Fun, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
What is more "fun"?

Everybody does essentially nothing but squirt out ever-larger creatures in a stagnant deadlock, then someone resolves Insurrection or something and the game just ends; or a game in a constant flux of things entering and leaving play, complex attack steps full of stuff going on, with no guaranteed instant wins just because someone finally dropped that ninth land?
I haven't even read the article yet, but I love the title!
What is more "fun"?

Everybody does essentially nothing but squirt out ever-larger creatures in a stagnant deadlock, then someone resolves Insurrection or something and the game just ends; or a game in a constant flux of things entering and leaving play, complex attack steps full of stuff going on, with no guaranteed instant wins just because someone finally dropped that ninth land?


What is more fun?  Everybody does essentially nothing but squirt out ever-larger creatures in a stagnant deadlock, or a game where everybody does essentially nothing at all, because one player isn't interested in committing to the board, and the other player wants to do stuff, but it all gets bounced or countered?

Hindering Light is the sort of counterspell that I like to see.  And yes, I have run it in both Limited and Constructed (although the former was a mistake, all things considered).  Countering Cruel Ultimatum with it (in both formats) is pretty sweet.


Incidentally, I've played a lot of games without anyone playing counterspells or bounce, and they did not result in a stagnant deadlock of creatures.  Instead, they involved fewer guessing games and more tricky combat math.  Sounds like a plus to me.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
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What's more fun?  Intentionally playing with bad decks and letting kids win so they feel better about themselves so they continue to think their white/green lifegain deck is good and to appease your friends who aren't serious about getting better at tournament-level Magic, or teaching people that every strategy has its weakness and the point of the game is to constantly test and tweak your deck against the more prevalent decks on the quest to solve the riddle of the "best" deck of the format? 

Anyway, I tend to only play limited Magic in-person because it's one of the only formats where you can play with the casual crowd while still improving your skills and not worrying about the drama of person X, who is a combo player, refusing to play against decks with counterspells. 
I don't hate blue, I have a double standard for it.  I hate to go up against counters and theft, and bounce is annoying, but I love, love, copy effects, and blue is copy's king.  I profess a dislike for blue despite my monoblue shapeshifter tribal that is one of my pet decks.   It's one of three or four I have that I consider purely fun, and that I will sling when all I want is to play a good fun game where winning and losing are secondary for me.  It's an odd relationshop we have, blue and I.
This is the happy swamp. Love it. I am red/blue, I think logically and act impulsively.
We're discussing a multiplayer format. You can't sit back and counter absolutely everything.

Statements like, "oh, and I managed to get my ninth land, so I win now" is why I don't play EDH any more. I don't know what type of play group Digges has, but I stopped after the third consecutive week of a four hour long game ending with something huge and nasty sticking.

I think it's less to do with the color, and more to do with what he's playing. Now, I'd be lying if I said Glimpse the Unthinkable was ever viable as a strategy, even when paired with twincast.  To an experienced player, mill is slower, more inefficient burn. However, to a new player, being milled to death is devastating.

The term I'm probably looking for is griefer cards. You're playing with griefer cards.
well written, 2 thumbs up

while I don't agree with everything you have said, I like the thought process, and I think that for each person (if they are willing to be honest) there is some part of magic that just doesn't excite them.  Congrats on willing to speak up on the subject, and my appologies for those who miss the point of the article and attack you for it.
We're discussing a multiplayer format. You can't sit back and counter absolutely everything.

Nope, which is why the role of counterspells in multiplayer is to be "removal" for sorceries and instants.
The term I'm probably looking for is griefer cards. You're playing with griefer cards.

Yes, yes they are.  Griefer cards serve the vitally important role of teaching players "you can't always get what you want", and nudging them away from overfilling on bigass "monsters!" and eggs-in-one-basket strategies. 

It's our fault, really, for mercilessly mauling newbs and being tormentors instead of mentors.

  • When a deck falls apart because a critical card was countered or destroyed, it's an indication of the deck being too focused around a single "super awesome(!)" win, with no backup plan.  It's important to explain to players that this is a bad idea.

  • When the opponent complains when his deck gets shredded by counters and removal, Explain Tempo.

  • Then, switch to aggro and beat him silly before he can even get to that ninth land.  Explain that speed is more important than "big".

  • When he complains that all you do is dogpile him with little guys, switch to land destruction.  Explain the concept of mana curve. 

  • When he complains that having to play small "boring" creatures is no fun, let him play your aggro deck against the LD or Control.  Explain that even the most "unfair" strategies have exploitable weaknesses.


If that player has an epiphany and begins to see that he can do stuff and have fun without overloading on "fun" cards and crying foul when his "fun" is undone, we've got someone who will eventually develop as a player and stop whining about the other guy actually having the nerve to interact
If he quits in disgust, we didn't need him anyway.

Urza/Invasion era power level counterspells made for really unfun games, but I started from around Onslaught. What was my most upset experience?
1. Having all my awesome four/five drop Beasts beaten up by a turn two Nantuko Shade. Geez, how can that thing be this broken?

2. Having my board locked up by Astral-Rift; especially seeing my Mistforms or Wizards eaten by an uncountered Lightning Rift (and Sparksmith), essentially having my deck destroyed.

3. (Two years later) Having most of my decks beaten by not-so-well-built Affinity decks. Cranial Plating on Thopter, take nine.


It's been a long time, and I've loved to play all five colors since, especially green. But I still have two complaints when it comes to "unfun" decks.

One is about decks that kill or control way too fast; counterspells may deny you your last Titanium Ultimatum, but you won't even have a sixth turn against Silgh, or a hand on the sixth turn against Cascade. I feel that all cards, counterspell, discard or burn, can be fun or unfun depending on how fairly it's costed.

The other complaint is how many games are decided by if a single card would turn up. It isn't an exaggeration that drawing a Firewalker or a Wall of Reverence turns a shaky matchup against Burn to a win, most of the time. Similarly, when I played control vs control in Ravnica era, I was upset that whoever sticks that Phyrexian Arena wins, most of the time.


The article is enlightening. I do believe that my Hedron Crab combo deck, with Oracle of Mul Daya and Time Warp, is more frustrating to my friends than my Eldrazi green and other decks. Especially that Time Warp. A well-built Time Warp deck is always one that annoys semi-casual players (Fog number FOUR?), and I advise everyone to use it a bit less in these settings. Aside from this, I think things differ from player to player, and I'm sure there are people who love to anti-lock your Turbofog deck with Kor Sancitifiers + Kor Skyfisher.

So it's important to understand what your friends like or hate to play against, in a casual/semi-casual setting.

Your newbie-killing anecdote was shameful, and had absolutely nothing to do with blue.  You would have had the same soul-crushing effect smashing his face over and over again with your Tarmogoyfs vs. his newly proudly traded for Patagia Golems.  All that showed is that you have absolutely no clue how to mentor new players.  "Latticing" is how they learn, not "blow you out every game".
We're discussing a multiplayer format. You can't sit back and counter absolutely everything.

Statements like, "oh, and I managed to get my ninth land, so I win now" is why I don't play EDH any more. I don't know what type of play group Digges has, but I stopped after the third consecutive week of a four hour long game ending with something huge and nasty sticking.

I think it's less to do with the color, and more to do with what he's playing. Now, I'd be lying if I said Glimpse the Unthinkable was ever viable as a strategy, even when paired with twincast.  To an experienced player, mill is slower, more inefficient burn. However, to a new player, being milled to death is devastating.

The term I'm probably looking for is griefer cards. You're playing with griefer cards.



clearly you've never met counter-top. sensei's divining top+counterbalence.
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Great Article! Love it.

The reactions on this article show that every person likes and dislikes things about the game.
Point proven. 


clearly you've never met counter-top. sensei's divining top+counterbalence.



Good luck trying to keep 3 and more opponents at bay with counterbalance control. It will not work, unless your opponents agreed not to play more than 1-2 spells (combined) each turn.

The article is ridiculous not to mention terrible manipulative; the blue bashing on this site is really getting out of hand. He played cataclysm in his deck but Counterspell + Capsize are the problem cards? Heck, Counterspell trades 1:1 - nothing more, and Capsize isn´t exactly a hardlock for 6 mana.

Maybe he should´ve explained the kid a little about mana curve + card efficiency instead of crushing his beginner deck again and again. And maybe he forced a new player out of magic, but claiming it was because of playing blue is simply pathetic.


I can understand that kids playing each other won't necessarily stop and explain the mana curve. The big market for CCGs is kids, which is why the only successful competitors to M:tG are ones that are directly and explicitly targeted at schoolchildren.

If Duel Masters had been a success in the English-speaking world, Wizards could have addressed that market with it, and left Magic: the Gathering as a CCG intended for adult players. Absent that option, I can see why Wizards feels the need to keep countermagic under strict control.

It may be that a more balanced meta existed in the old days because players all had to look over their shoulders for control decks. If that was true, I've suggested that perhaps at the Pro Tour level, they should be playing Standard+ and Extended+, where Counterspell is added to the list of cards legal in the format. (Not totally unprecedented: the original duals were added to the first Extended rotation.)

This would also complicate netdecking, another plus!

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

He didn't claim it was because he played blue. He claimed that at the time he thought it was because he played blue.

I was taught Magic by my friend who had only one deck: a Capsize-Thawing Glaciers-counterspell deck. He helped me build another deck to play against his, a mono-red Urzatron-X-spell deck. Funnily enough, it didn't do very well. But I liked the game enough to still want to keep playing. He didn't play his Capsize deck very much after that: he built another couple of decks (Liege of the Hollows!), and between me, the other players he taught, the players I taught including my brother, the players that my brother taught... he's been responsible for perhaps 30-40 players getting into Magic, including one who buys a 4of of every new set and wins money in tournaments.

My favourite colours are red, white and blue. I like control, but control that's fun for my opponents too. I don't play Capsize, and it's rare for me to play countermagic, but I might play Confound or Remand. I'm itching to play my Jace, the Mind Sculptor together with Quest for Ula's Temple or Archmage Ascension.

Quite possibly my favourite of my 80+ decks is my Quick on the Draw deck, which plays Teferi's Puzzle Box, Howling Mine, Wheel and Deal and then kills the opponent with Cerebral Vortex. Everyone who's ever lost to that deck (and there are many) has loved it because it's so entertaining.


(Incidentally, I very nearly didn't bother to hop over into Firefox to post this, because the redirect loop in Chrome between community.wizards.com and accounts.wizards.com STILL isn't fixed...)
What's more fun?  Intentionally playing with bad decks and letting kids win so they feel better about themselves so they continue to think their white/green lifegain deck is good and to appease your friends who aren't serious about getting better at tournament-level Magic, or teaching people that every strategy has its weakness and the point of the game is to constantly test and tweak your deck against the more prevalent decks on the quest to solve the riddle of the "best" deck of the format? 

Anyway, I tend to only play limited Magic in-person because it's one of the only formats where you can play with the casual crowd while still improving your skills and not worrying about the drama of person X, who is a combo player, refusing to play against decks with counterspells. 



That is the point of a Spike, NOT of every player who wants to play the game! But you already have opted not to play them anyway so no problem there =)

It still happens too often through. A Spike and a Timmy playing and both just angry at each other. Timmy not understanding why the opponent would get joy out of playing such an unfun deck, and Spike not understanding that the opponent is looking for something else than his point of the game

EDIT: yeah so the problem was not the color Blue chasing away new players, but someone playing in a harcore Spike way using Blue for that
OOOhh so that's why you print Kozilek.... because casual players were complaining that they hated mill??!?

This article is pretty dumb. I read till the camp kid story, because it seemed clear to me that all it was doing was to try and justify the perceived state of blue in standard.

It basicaly was confirming everyone's assumptions that blue is being hosed because WotC perceives that stuff like counterspell and mill are unfun for the casual and newly players.

But as other people said, the stories only show the inability of this guy to properly tutor anyone into Magic, rather than any kind of mechanic related issue with the game.

Magic, just like any other competitive game, is fun when you win and is unfun when you lose. I mean, heck it might be annoying to lose by getting everything you cast being countered, but is just as annoying to lose by, say, a Great Stable Stag you have no answer to.

On the other hand, winning by controling the board with counters and bounces is fun. Because blue control is one of the funnest ways to play in magic, and one that takes experience to master and to fully enjoy. It's even more fun when the opponent can actually wit you out of your control and the match becomes really tight.

I don't think there's more satisfaction than to just having won a long-winded and tight game and giving the hand to your opponent, knowing that you countered the right spells, and that you bounced the right permanents at the right time.

When I started playing Magic I got quickly into it because it seemed clear to me that it was a game that required a lot more thought and strategy than many other CCGs. That's why, as long as I can remember, I've always strongly disliked Red and Green.

Why? Well, they're the colors that usually need the least thought. There's barely any thinking involved into stategies like burning you as fast as possible, or ramping trampling fatties.

Insidentally they are usually the colours that new players and casual players like the most, because they can win with them without giving a lot of thought, and thus the game becomes "fun".

And also insidetally they're probably the strongest colours in standard right now..... talk about a casually centered design huh?
OOOhh so that's why you print Kozilek.... because casual players were complaining that they hated mill??!?

This article is pretty dumb. I read till the camp kid story, because it seemed clear to me that all it was doing was to try and justify the perceived state of blue in standard.

It basicaly was confirming everyone's assumptions that blue is being hosed because WotC perceives that stuff like counterspell and mill are unfun for the casual and newly players.

But as other people said, the stories only show the inability of this guy to properly tutor anyone into Magic, rather than any kind of mechanic related issue with the game.

Magic, just like any other competitive game, is fun when you win and is unfun when you lose. I mean, heck it might be annoying to lose by getting everything you cast being countered, but is just as annoying to lose by, say, a Great Stable Stag you have no answer to.

On the other hand, winning by controling the board with counters and bounces is fun. Because blue control is one of the funnest ways to play in magic, and one that takes experience to master and to fully enjoy. It's even more fun when the opponent can actually wit you out of your control and the match becomes really tight.

I don't think there's more satisfaction than to just having won a long-winded and tight game and giving the hand to your opponent, knowing that you countered the right spells, and that you bounced the right permanents at the right time.

When I started playing Magic I got quickly into it because it seemed clear to me that it was a game that required a lot more thought and strategy than many other CCGs. That's why, as long as I can remember, I've always strongly disliked Red and Green.

Why? Well, they're the colors that usually need the least thought. There's barely any thinking involved into stategies like burning you as fast as possible, or ramping trampling fatties.

Insidentally they are usually the colours that new players and casual players like the most, because they can win with them without giving a lot of thought, and thus the game becomes "fun".

And also insidetally they're probably the strongest colours in standard right now..... talk about a casually centered design huh?


This is why I have a hatred for the majority of casual players. They are whiney and completely devoid of strategy. I get bored playing them, I always win.

I agree with your comment about satisfaction. Really, if I have a long winded, tight game, that could go one way or the other if someone makes the wrong move (or right move), than that is fun. I feel like I really met someone that can challenge me. And there is nothing more fun than that. Wether I win or lose/

OOOhh so that's why you print Kozilek.... because casual players were complaining that they hated mill??!?

This article is pretty dumb. I read till the camp kid story, because it seemed clear to me that all it was doing was to try and justify the perceived state of blue in standard.

It basicaly was confirming everyone's assumptions that blue is being hosed because WotC perceives that stuff like counterspell and mill are unfun for the casual and newly players.



You do realize that the author is not in R&D, and has no control over the power level of blue, or what's in Standard, don't you?
OOOhh so that's why you print Kozilek.... because casual players were complaining that they hated mill??!?

This article is pretty dumb. I read till the camp kid story, because it seemed clear to me that all it was doing was to try and justify the perceived state of blue in standard.

It basicaly was confirming everyone's assumptions that blue is being hosed because WotC perceives that stuff like counterspell and mill are unfun for the casual and newly players.



You do realize that the author is not in R&D, and has no control over the power level of blue, or what's in Standard, don't you?




But they do use his article to give a false impression of the impact of the colour blue and its "control cards".
You do realize that the author is not in R&D, and has no control over the power level of blue, or what's in Standard, don't you?

I think the complaints about this column are based on a perception that it is a disingenuous defense of the state of Standard, which would be just as annoying coming from someone in the public relations department as someone directly involved in set design.

I don't think the reasoning behind this article is dishonest, though. I would prefer Counterspell to be around in Standard. While it's true that winning is always more fun than losing, it is also true that some kinds of losses are more frustrating than others. I don't think Wizards is so incompetent at the making money part of its business that they let prejudices and assumptions substitute for market research.

I view this article as a valid and honest attempt to educate readers about anti-counterspell mindset, so that they can understand the difficulty Wizards is facing in this area. But, while I don't think the article is dishonest, and am not angry for that reason, that doesn't mean one can't be annoyed at that article for another reason. One could view it as "preachy". Like an article explaining how important flavor is to the fun of Magic... particularly if it appeared during Kamigawa block.

Flavor, storylines, and art are all important to Magic's success as a game overall - but the success of an individual set stands or falls on the basis of the single biggest contributor to the perceived value of the cards in the boosters: their power level. That's another problem Wizards faces, and has led, for example, to the annoyance of the rather short rotation period for Standard.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

We're discussing a multiplayer format. You can't sit back and counter absolutely everything.

Nope, which is why the role of counterspells in multiplayer is to be "removal" for sorceries and instants.
The term I'm probably looking for is griefer cards. You're playing with griefer cards.

Yes, yes they are.  Griefer cards serve the vitally important role of teaching players "you can't always get what you want", and nudging them away from overfilling on bigass "monsters!" and eggs-in-one-basket strategies. 

It's our fault, really, for mercilessly mauling newbs and being tormentors instead of mentors.

  • When a deck falls apart because a critical card was countered or destroyed, it's an indication of the deck being too focused around a single "super awesome(!)" win, with no backup plan.  It's important to explain to players that this is a bad idea.

  • When the opponent complains when his deck gets shredded by counters and removal, Explain Tempo.

  • Then, switch to aggro and beat him silly before he can even get to that ninth land.  Explain that speed is more important than "big".

  • When he complains that all you do is dogpile him with little guys, switch to land destruction.  Explain the concept of mana curve. 

  • When he complains that having to play small "boring" creatures is no fun, let him play your aggro deck against the LD or Control.  Explain that even the most "unfair" strategies have exploitable weaknesses.


If that player has an epiphany and begins to see that he can do stuff and have fun without overloading on "fun" cards and crying foul when his "fun" is undone, we've got someone who will eventually develop as a player and stop whining about the other guy actually having the nerve to interact
If he quits in disgust, we didn't need him anyway.



Thank you. This. Just totally and completely this.

The thing about being new to Magic is that it is a downright brutal experience (or at least, it was for me.) Magic is so complex and there are so many cards that only have narrow uses that it's almost a foregone conclusion that a newbie's first deck -- even an intelligent and thoughtful newbie -- will be horrible and helpless in the face of almost anything focused.

Anyone who actually remains and plays Magic is someone who experienced all of that and stayed anyway. Sometimes that's due to his playgroup toning it down and moving from "playing my own decks" mode to "helping the newbie" mode (often complete with building simplified decks to help said newbie learn.) Sometimes it's what I did as a newbie: finding someone else brand new and practicing with that person and spending my time studying the experienced players' decks and strategies but waiting to play against them until I had a chance. Sometimes it's sheer force of will and determination.

But many -- I'd guess most -- of us are here despite early games that were abject humiliations, whether our friends intended them to be or not. (Usually not, though most gaming groups have their resident unapologetic griefer. I still remember finally getting good enough to consistently crush him, despite his having more and better cards and everything. It was so satisfying.)

We wanted to get good, whether because we knew this game held fascinating, complex interactions that intrigued us, or whether because its flavor fascinated us, or whether simply because we wanted to have the satisfaction of overcoming the challenge of its incredible learning curve.

That is why the hatred of blue puzzles me. We've all been blown out before by something that's not blue. (Anyone else remember Black Summer?)

Personally, I'd rather be playing against old-school Draw-Go or old-school Prison than against the old-time overpowered combo decks that, rather than aiming to stop me, completely ignore me and win regardless of anything I do.

Magic is a strategy game! Surely one viable strategy -- in any conflict -- is to neutralize what one's enemy is doing enough to cripple him.

I get why some people don't like that, sure, but I don't get why this is so big a deal that large numbers of people refuse to play against you if your deck has Islands in it. That makes no sense to me.
If that player has an epiphany and begins to see that he can do stuff and have fun without overloading on "fun" cards and crying foul when his "fun" is undone, we've got someone who will eventually develop as a player and stop whining about the other guy actually having the nerve to interact
If he quits in disgust, we didn't need him anyway.



Thank you. This. Just totally and completely this.

The thing about being new to Magic is that it is a downright brutal experience (or at least, it was for me.) Magic is so complex and there are so many cards that only have narrow uses that it's almost a foregone conclusion that a newbie's first deck -- even an intelligent and thoughtful newbie -- will be horrible and helpless in the face of almost anything focused.

Anyone who actually remains and plays Magic is someone who experienced all of that and stayed anyway.



You think Wizards is happy with that? You think they want a game where only the hardest of players actually stay and buy cards for them to stay in business?

That's why they're toning down the hardcore strategy part we all like so much. Because that's not for everyone and we're not enough.

If he quits in disgust, maybe we didn't need him... but Wizards does.
The Boss: "Hey, Styborski, now it´s you. Go there and do your best for BLUE!"

Styborski: "But they used to like me. if I..."

The Boss: "Who cares about you? Try to justify all that sh*t...I mean, I mean, all that pretty and shining uselles blue cards"

Styborski: "It´s so unfair. I used to like blue in the past blah blah blah"

----

JV
We're discussing a multiplayer format. You can't sit back and counter absolutely everything.

Nope, which is why the role of counterspells in multiplayer is to be "removal" for sorceries and instants.
The term I'm probably looking for is griefer cards. You're playing with griefer cards.

Yes, yes they are.  Griefer cards serve the vitally important role of teaching players "you can't always get what you want", and nudging them away from overfilling on bigass "monsters!" and eggs-in-one-basket strategies. 

It's our fault, really, for mercilessly mauling newbs and being tormentors instead of mentors.

  • When a deck falls apart because a critical card was countered or destroyed, it's an indication of the deck being too focused around a single "super awesome(!)" win, with no backup plan.  It's important to explain to players that this is a bad idea.

  • When the opponent complains when his deck gets shredded by counters and removal, Explain Tempo.

  • Then, switch to aggro and beat him silly before he can even get to that ninth land.  Explain that speed is more important than "big".

  • When he complains that all you do is dogpile him with little guys, switch to land destruction.  Explain the concept of mana curve. 

  • When he complains that having to play small "boring" creatures is no fun, let him play your aggro deck against the LD or Control.  Explain that even the most "unfair" strategies have exploitable weaknesses.


If that player has an epiphany and begins to see that he can do stuff and have fun without overloading on "fun" cards and crying foul when his "fun" is undone, we've got someone who will eventually develop as a player and stop whining about the other guy actually having the nerve to interact
If he quits in disgust, we didn't need him anyway.





I agree with you about mentoring however, I don't really agree with your methods. There are so many viable strategies in MtG. If a player likes lifegain show him the martyr of sands deck or if he's into big creatures bring him into the realm of standard where you can play a card like broodmate dragon or baneslayer angel and it is not this cut throat situation that you're making it out to be.

I wouldn't say that "we didn't need him anyway" Magic can handle many different kinds of players and there is always a format out there that someone can enjoy. Steer the person in the right direction, it could be EDH or Planechase or something else but I'd say we need all the players we can get.

I understand the feeling of driving someone away from MtG. It is not a good feeling and I hope to never experience that again. Thankfully I've had so many good experiences with new players that they more than make up for that one experience where I drove someone away from ever playing again.
Don't be too smart to have fun
...
If he quits in disgust, we didn't need him anyway.



This single statement exemplifies everything that is wrong with some types of players.

Guess what? Chicken butt.

sigh, I made an account just to share how much that article made me sad.
Instead of helping a kid play a better deck he let him be an ignorant Timmy. I don't care about hate or flame, if you let your friends play big creatures nonstop and not help them learn that you might want to do something better then don't play with them or let them lose and eventually quit.

I can't believe the state of Magic. I came back after quitting after Mirrordin before Champions of Kamigawa. and here's a true story that should break everyone's heart.

I'm studying for a test in Partial Differential Equations when I notice two people playing Magic at a table near me. I continue to study a little longer and head over to watch. I see one guy is playing a red/green deck and another blue/white, I loved these games aggro vs. control. But then I see a Lightning Bolt come out and hit the blue player.
"When did they reprint this?" I ask.
"In M10 they printed a bunch of cool cards. they also reprinted Ball of Lightning too"
Just as he was about to cast it the blue/white player played Essence Scatter.
"Nice play."
"Thanks" the blue player responded.
I had to ask.
"Why are you playing Essence Scatter? That card's terrible don't you have Mana Leak or Counterspell?" I realized how rude that sounded after I said it.
"What's Mana Leak do?"

This is where I have to say I was sick. @#$% you guys for crying about blue ruining games. If you take it way people will have no idea what control actually was like. I mean just wow. The guy had no idea about mana leak and he later told me he heard of counterspell but it got removed because it was too powerful.

Too powerful. Two blue to deny something is wonderful but I sat through a set that was run by Arcbound Ravager, Discple of the Vault, Skullclamp and, one spell is too powerful to be reprinted?
But to add insult to injury he shows me he has something to deal with anything just like it.
It's called Cancel.
...
Really? No! Really?
Why?
Why did you even think it fair to print something that says counter target spell and have it be three mana? Why not just make it four mana so people can watch out for the big bad counterspell. It's like seeing a Rhino without a horn or an Elephant without a trunk and tusks. It's just not how it should be its an abomination. Print good cards. Just to print excuses and poor attempts to make it seem like the card is good should not be acceptable. Players that are new to magic are pretty much being lobotomized instead of growing. I hated counterspell when I started, I played RG Fires of Yavimaya all the way. But I grew and accepted counterspell as a needed evil or good to help or kill Psychatogs, Wild Mongrels, and other counterspells. Why are you killing something that helps a community grow? I didn't quit because my spells got countered I quit because of college. Now I return and am empty in the islands. I see decks pathetically weaker than before, seriously anything I played before this standard would rip any standard deck to shreds.

Why did you remove something that was such an essential tool for a Magic player's growth? 
This is where I have to say I was sick. @#$% you guys for crying about blue ruining games. If you take it way people will have no idea what control actually was like. I mean just wow. The guy had no idea about mana leak and he later told me he heard of counterspell but it got removed because it was too powerful.

Too powerful. Two blue to deny something is wonderful but I sat through a set that was run by Arcbound Ravager, Discple of the Vault, Skullclamp and, one spell is too powerful to be reprinted?
But to add insult to injury he shows me he has something to deal with anything just like it.
It's called Cancel.
...
Really? No! Really?
Why?
Why did you even think it fair to print something that says counter target spell and have it be three mana? Why not just make it four mana so people can watch out for the big bad counterspell. It's like seeing a Rhino without a horn or an Elephant without a trunk and tusks. It's just not how it should be its an abomination. Print good cards. Just to print excuses and poor attempts to make it seem like the card is good should not be acceptable. Players that are new to magic are pretty much being lobotomized instead of growing. I hated counterspell when I started, I played RG Fires of Yavimaya all the way. But I grew and accepted counterspell as a needed evil or good to help or kill Psychatogs, Wild Mongrels, and other counterspells. Why are you killing something that helps a community grow? I didn't quit because my spells got countered I quit because of college. Now I return and am empty in the islands. I see decks pathetically weaker than before, seriously anything I played before this standard would rip any standard deck to shreds.

Why did you remove something that was such an essential tool for a Magic player's growth? 



This. This. A thousand times this.

Wizards, I understand that you're listening to the people who hate playing against permission.

But why aren't you also listening to us?

Okay, Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Treasure Hunt are awesome. So is Celestial Colonnade, though it forces you to play blue/white, which means you have to somehow get a hold of Baneslayer Angel. And doesn't in any way help those of us who actually miss monoblue and wonder why, in a Standard where there exists an at least somewhat viable monocolor deck for every other color, a monoblue one has no chance.

But... seriously, Cancel? Two situational counters that mean you almost never are holding the one you need (when it's not the case that you don't need them because you've drawn enough other decent cards to handle whatever it is anyway)? 

When you're reprinting or creating awesome cheap-CMC cards like Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile for other colors? When both Volcanic Fallout and Banefire are legal in Standard? When manlands are awesome and everywhere and neither counters nor Jace's Unsummon ability can handle them?

Oh yes, Counterspell would be totally terrifying in this meta.

*headdesk*
I think we have to remember that casual Magic is still out there. I agree that we have to show new players about the weaknesses of decks and ideas, but somtimes players can just be too brutal and some people mistakenly think that there is only one kind of Magic. Competative Magic.
Its better to start of slow with new players rather than rushing them into complicated rules and text, the reason we have starter sets and whatnot, but I think that people need to stop thinking about Magic with a single mind.

Actually, I didn't think it was heartbreaking. I did find it sad, however.

I used to dislike blue for countering things, or locking me out, better said. But when you realise that losing your creature to terror isn't that different than losing it to counterspell, you can see things in perspective. So now I don't mind blue and even started to really like it for the things you can do with it (gift's ungiven etc) and because I like control, I also play counterspells here and there.

But what really annoys me is the opposite of the newbie's dislike of blue, and is exemplified by your story. The blue-lovers whine about how unfair it is that counterspell is no longer the default counterspell. The point to balance in this game is how much something costs to do. Counterspell used to be able to counter things that cost way more and lightning bolt could shoot things down that cost way more to play. Nowadays, bolt still has a reasonble number of higher manacost creatures to kill, but there are also many new creatures that cost 2-3 and are out of range. This is why they brought it back. Unless everything becomes cheaper to play (and looking at standard where spells up to 7 mana are regularly played, I think not anytime soon), counterspell is just undercosted.

Personally, I'm quite happy that counterspells aren't the hyper efficient control machines of old anymore. This allows cards with a higher cmc than 3 to be actually played and diversifies the metagame greatly.


Lastly, in response to the actual article, I agree with most people here that bashing the newbie's brains in over and over without explaining why or how (at least I don't see you mention that) is rather stupid and the real reason why he turned away from Magic. If you played ritual hyppie hymn against him it would be no different.

I haven't actually mentored anyone in Magic so far, except for one time where I was at a meeting/party (of sorts) and someone brought his deck and I happened to have a deck on me as well. Our decks were both BR, except mine had a curve and a theme (rakdos hellbent) whereas his was a pile. Obviously, I slaughtered him a few times, but I did point out to him what the real differences between our decks were. Whether he took the lesson to heart is hard for me to say, considering we were both rather drunk...

i don't understand the title. the article seems to be "why blue is bad and wotc is correct for drastically changing it."

and i agree with previous posters that ruining someone's perception of magic by playing a control/milling deck against a new player has little to do with blue. any other griefer strategy or 600 dollar net deck could have worked the same way.

and why didn't you tell him how to beat you, or give him a deck that you knew would beat that deck? why didn't you just tell him "get a gaea's blessing?"
I think we have to remember that casual Magic is still out there. I agree that we have to show new players about the weaknesses of decks and ideas, but somtimes players can just be too brutal and some people mistakenly think that there is only one kind of Magic. Competative Magic.
Its better to start of slow with new players rather than rushing them into complicated rules and text, the reason we have starter sets and whatnot, but I think that people need to stop thinking about Magic with a single mind.



I'm not sure if this is aimed at me or at others, but I for one am not saying that casual Magic isn't out there. It is, and it's great that it is. I'm competitive, yeah, but silly games are fun, and while I get bored with silly, there's no reason everyone else should be like me. That's actually part of my point. Some people don't like counters, so Wizards experimented with printing Cancel and calling it "fair."

And lo and behold... nobody plays it. Spikes don't play it because its CMC is just too high. (Okay, yeah, some decks run one or two of them.) Others don't play it because they already think (and again, I have no problem with them feeling this way) that counters of any kind are not fun.

So no one plays it. So Wizards has the option of a) bringing Counterspell back (or creating or reprinting some other hard counter that's better than Cancel, like Hinder or something), making people who like those strategies happy or b) doing nothing and keeping everyone unhappy.

My point is that the casual players who don't like counters can easily continue to find ways to play without them. 
This is where I have to say I was sick. @#$% you guys for crying about blue ruining games. If you take it way people will have no idea what control actually was like. I mean just wow. The guy had no idea about mana leak and he later told me he heard of counterspell but it got removed because it was too powerful.

Too powerful. Two blue to deny something is wonderful but I sat through a set that was run by Arcbound Ravager, Discple of the Vault, Skullclamp and, one spell is too powerful to be reprinted?
But to add insult to injury he shows me he has something to deal with anything just like it.
It's called Cancel.
...
Really? No! Really?
Why?
Why did you even think it fair to print something that says counter target spell and have it be three mana? Why not just make it four mana so people can watch out for the big bad counterspell. It's like seeing a Rhino without a horn or an Elephant without a trunk and tusks. It's just not how it should be its an abomination. Print good cards. Just to print excuses and poor attempts to make it seem like the card is good should not be acceptable. Players that are new to magic are pretty much being lobotomized instead of growing. I hated counterspell when I started, I played RG Fires of Yavimaya all the way. But I grew and accepted counterspell as a needed evil or good to help or kill Psychatogs, Wild Mongrels, and other counterspells. Why are you killing something that helps a community grow? I didn't quit because my spells got countered I quit because of college. Now I return and am empty in the islands. I see decks pathetically weaker than before, seriously anything I played before this standard would rip any standard deck to shreds.

Why did you remove something that was such an essential tool for a Magic player's growth? 



This. This. A thousand times this.

Wizards, I understand that you're listening to the people who hate playing against permission.

But why aren't you also listening to us?

Okay, Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Treasure Hunt are awesome. So is Celestial Colonnade, though it forces you to play blue/white, which means you have to somehow get a hold of Baneslayer Angel. And doesn't in any way help those of us who actually miss monoblue and wonder why, in a Standard where there exists an at least somewhat viable monocolor deck for every other color, a monoblue one has no chance.

But... seriously, Cancel? Two situational counters that mean you almost never are holding the one you need (when it's not the case that you don't need them because you've drawn enough other decent cards to handle whatever it is anyway)? 

When you're reprinting or creating awesome cheap-CMC cards like Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile for other colors? When both Volcanic Fallout and Banefire are legal in Standard? When manlands are awesome and everywhere and neither counters nor Jace's Unsummon ability can handle them?

Oh yes, Counterspell would be totally terrifying in this meta.

*headdesk*

exactly how can anyone whine about the existence of counterspell with standards current state?

Yeah, casual player exist. Yeah, they are important for making wizards money. But they are for the most part, annoying, whiney, and haven't a clue what they are talkin about.


Actually, I didn't think it was heartbreaking. I did find it sad, however.

I used to dislike blue for countering things, or locking me out, better said. But when you realise that losing your creature to terror isn't that different than losing it to counterspell, you can see things in perspective. So now I don't mind blue and even started to really like it for the things you can do with it (gift's ungiven etc) and because I like control, I also play counterspells here and there.

But what really annoys me is the opposite of the newbie's dislike of blue, and is exemplified by your story. The blue-lovers whine about how unfair it is that counterspell is no longer the default counterspell. The point to balance in this game is how much something costs to do. Counterspell used to be able to counter things that cost way more and lightning bolt could shoot things down that cost way more to play. Nowadays, bolt still has a reasonble number of higher manacost creatures to kill, but there are also many new creatures that cost 2-3 and are out of range. This is why they brought it back. Unless everything becomes cheaper to play (and looking at standard where spells up to 7 mana are regularly played, I think not anytime soon), counterspell is just undercosted.

Personally, I'm quite happy that counterspells aren't the hyper efficient control machines of old anymore. This allows cards with a higher cmc than 3 to be actually played and diversifies the metagame greatly.


Lastly, in response to the actual article, I agree with most people here that bashing the newbie's brains in over and over without explaining why or how (at least I don't see you mention that) is rather stupid and the real reason why he turned away from Magic. If you played ritual hyppie hymn against him it would be no different.

I haven't actually mentored anyone in Magic so far, except for one time where I was at a meeting/party (of sorts) and someone brought his deck and I happened to have a deck on me as well. Our decks were both BR, except mine had a curve and a theme (rakdos hellbent) whereas his was a pile. Obviously, I slaughtered him a few times, but I did point out to him what the real differences between our decks were. Whether he took the lesson to heart is hard for me to say, considering we were both rather drunk...




Look, I've actually mentored one of my friends and he has brought three other friends into it and brought one other back. But well all agree that standard is Bull$#%^ and casual is best for them. I taught him and played with all his buds with a monoblue deck made from free starter boosters that were handed out. He thought it was a dumb deck and when he played it he realized it was not an easy deck. Playing it vs. a Red/Black discard was hard and him and his friend we had a fun casual time. I added in my old counterspells and we still had fun, we played multiplayer and laughed our buts off at a mind control over a Giant Spider.
*story over*
Moral- even with the terrible counterspells people find the game fun, with the actual counterspell people still have fun it seems, so I guess that means dumbing the game down on a whole is fine? I disagree but eh.
Look as far as mana wise, Blue needs counterspell before it could be a monocolor deck in standard and as far as the high and stupid CMC of spells being played why does Wizards feel the need to slow the format down to play their poorly made cards?
Ouch that was mean but think! Bloodbraid Elf, Jace,  Garruk, Baneslayer, why does everything have to float up to 4-5 CMC? Why is it that they want something cheap like Lightning Bolt that can deal with threats that counterspell could? When 2-3 CMC was a major play area for a long time in the game it is now considered the early game? Pushing the game into playing later to play spells is a bad way to shape the game. Decks that don't do anything until turn three should be getting mauled to death by agro instead they are the most dominate decks around.

If you support Jund and believe it is the way magic should go then I think you are supporting the idea of a 3 mana counter is the way things should go. If you believe that decks should be able  to play a spell every turn, 1,2,3,4,etc. and be top decks then you should support counterspell.
Ruining a mana curve in the game by pushing spells back more and more is not the answer. Heck you can't even play reanimator decks anymore because wizards or someone thinks that those decks get past the idea of having to sit and wait to play something that cost 7 mana.

What I'm trying to say is that by pushing the standard of Magic, Counterspell, back in mana they also pushed the entire game back. Getting to four mana in Urza's was where the game was close to a victor or both players were tearing each other apart but, now in Standard games don't tend to show signs of starting until turn three. Put Counterspell back in and people will make decks faster, games will be more fun and maybe just maybe people will understand blue as a color that doesn't need a wheelchair.


exactly how can anyone whine about the existence of counterspell with standards current state?
Yeah, casual player exist. Yeah, they are important for making wizards money. But they are for the most part, annoying, whiney, and haven't a clue what they are talkin about.



Eh, I don' t think all casual players are whiny. I think many aren't. Thing is, those who aren't will upfront say to you "I'd rather not play against permission/against blue/against a competitive deck/against whatever." They'll just not play you if they don't like it. Or ask you to switch decks. IMO, that's fine. I usually have at least one deck that isn't great but I like playing. Or at least one deck that's an idea I'm testing out that really, really doesn't work and I'm trying to make work. They can crush that all they like. Fine by me.

The others are too immature to set boundaries, so I don't feel particularly terrible about the idea of a few cards existing in a meta they can just opt out of because they're PLAYING CASUALLY ANYWAY! that they OMG dislike.
I think the entire article could have been this single line: "Bad players refuse to blame themselves for their losses, so Blue is bad for anyone who wants to have fun."

Yeah, ok, cool. Just remember that those of us who are competitive players are the ones spending the most on your damn game, even if we're not Spikes.

And just so we're clear, I'm not talking about only Blue. Bad players hate Wrath effects, hate discard, hate friggin arc-slogger... The only color that most casual players don't seem to hate on is Green, and with the increased presence of Green LD available, not to mention broken-as-all-hell combos, that's changing.

So, moral of the story: print cards strictly for casual players, but be sure you print cards strictly for competitive players, too. 

IMAGE(http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g424/syreal94/SIGS1AL.png) Sig by zpikduM.

If you support Jund and believe it is the way magic should go then I think you are supporting the idea of a 3 mana counter is the way things should go. If you believe that decks should be able  to play a spell every turn, 1,2,3,4,etc. and be top decks then you should support counterspell.
Ruining a mana curve in the game by pushing spells back more and more is not the answer. Heck you can't even play reanimator decks anymore because wizards or someone thinks that those decks get past the idea of having to sit and wait to play something that cost 7 mana.

What I'm trying to say is that by pushing the standard of Magic, Counterspell, back in mana they also pushed the entire game back. Getting to four mana in Urza's was where the game was close to a victor or both players were tearing each other apart but, now in Standard games don't tend to show signs of starting until turn three. Put Counterspell back in and people will make decks faster, games will be more fun and maybe just maybe people will understand blue as a color that doesn't need a wheelchair.



Ehm yeah that was kind of the entire point. Make the more expensive spells actually playable.

And neither your playgroup nor these boards are a good representative of the overall magic crowd. It just is so that the majority DOES like to cast 5, 6, 7 mana cards and DOESN'T like Counterspell. So they go for Cancel.
This. This. A thousand times this.

Wizards, I understand that you're listening to the people who hate playing against permission.

But why aren't you also listening to us?



Because we don't bring in enough money


That is the point of a Spike, NOT of every player who wants to play the game! But you already have opted not to play them anyway so no problem there =)

It still happens too often through. A Spike and a Timmy playing and both just angry at each other. Timmy not understanding why the opponent would get joy out of playing such an unfun deck, and Spike not understanding that the opponent is looking for something else than his point of the game

EDIT: yeah so the problem was not the color Blue chasing away new players, but someone playing in a harcore Spike way using Blue for that



Fair enough point.  I just assumed that all 3 psychographics play to win- for Spikes to prove their deckbuilding skills, for Jonnies to show off how they can still win with a creative deck that no one else has used, and for Timmies to have bigger and badder creatures than their opponents. 

I really don't mind the current state of blue.  3-mana hard counters are still very good, and Flashfreeze is BETTER than counterspell against many decks.  If anything, I think playing control in today's standard requires more skill to pull off since you really have to put effort into choosing the right counters.  I personally like catching people off-guard with a maindecked Swerve to redirect their Blightning, Bolt, or Cruel Ultimatum for crushing card advantage. 

Anything you don't counter can be bounced or wrathed later.  The real issue is being able to hold back your counterspells and still having good instants to play in case you don't want to save your counters.  I think more instant-speed card drawing would be just as backbreaking as reprinting counterspell. 

P.S. In standard, at least we all have the same rules, and the rules are laid out clearly for everyone.  This is why formats exist and have their own banned lists.  If you don't like standard, then I suggest Pauper or Singleton or Prismatic.  But I find that many casual players will drop their Sol Rings while saying that your counterspell and stone rain are degenerate.  Yikes!  And I can't believe that anyone would think Cheatyface is an okay card to play! 
situational counters like negate, essence scatter, dispel, etc. would be fine...if there was a reliable/safe way to draw them.

the lack of instant draw hurts blue more than the lack of counterspell, mana leak, and force spike (not that i dont want to see these in standard mind you.)

i replaced all the marginal cards in my standard mono blue with old (good) cards. impulse for treasure hunt. brainstorm for ponder. counterspell for cancel. ensnare for sleep. mana leak for negate. it worked so much better, it was ridiculous.

i actually got to play spells rather than have my calcite snapper killed by a gatekeeper of malakir kicked and have my sphinx of jwar'isle meet a similar fate. you almost need to tap out and hope for the best when you play creatures in blue (waiting for that extra mana for cancel or guessing the wrong situation between negate and essence scatter,) if you dont youll just get overrun by better creatures in other colors. if not they'll just be removed.

is it fun for a mono blue player on the draw to face a turn 3 great sable stag with a hand full of counters, or even creatures, bounce, etc?